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How can anyone afford ranked private colleges and universities???

jerome38747jerome38747 9 replies5 threads New Member
Hello all,

Can someone explain how anyone is able to afford some of these private universities? It seems like you have to be extremely rich or low-income to be able to attend these schools.
Especially those that offer little to no merit aid. Do middle or even upper middle class families that attend these schools just take out a ton of student loans??

This has been so frustrating as someone from a middle-class background that I can't attend some of these universities that I have always wanted to go to. I have only received a very small amount of need based aid . I received merit scholarships to USD, Elon, and University of Denver, and even then, these schools are going to be a stretch financially.

I always wanted to go out of state for college, but this does not seem like a viable option anymore. So much for applying to all of these schools that I won't be able to attend without being 80k in debt.

I have applied to several outside scholarships, but have not received any.

I would appreciate if someone could offer advice or relate to this issue. Please share your thoughts.
edited May 19
46 replies
Post edited by CCEdit_Suraj on
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Replies to: How can anyone afford ranked private colleges and universities???

  • DustyfeathersDustyfeathers 3573 replies85 threads Senior Member
    edited May 19
    OOS public colleges will be expensive usually with some rare exceptions. Some private colleges offer merit aid to middle income and higher performing students. To find out what a school will cost you ON AVERAGE you can run their net price indicator. That might seem arduous and so there's another way to get an approximate cost for your income bracket. Use the COLLEGE NAVIGATOR website. Find your school of choice and then it the button marked NET PRICE.

    https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/

    Most private colleges give some discount to students but the amount varies greatly.

    For $30K per year there are many schools avaialbe that they can afford. $55K per year income level indicates (according to College Navigator) that ON AVERAGE --.

    St. Olaf would cost $15K per year for your family
    Muhlenberg -- $21K
    Clark University -- $22K
    Haverford -- $14K
    Vassar -- $13K
    Southwestern University -- $23K
    Santa Clara -- $26K
    Saint Louis University -- $23K
    Skidmore -- $14K
    Boston University -- $20K
    Northeastern -- $18K


    And so on.

    I caution when using College Navigator to dismiss the PUBLIC school costs as those are given just for in-state students, not OOS students. The OOS student costs will be much higher.


    edited May 19
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 2248 replies37 threads Senior Member
    Hello all,

    Can someone explain how anyone is able to afford some of these private universities? It seems like you have to be extremely rich or low-income to be able to attend these schools.
    Especially those that offer little to no merit aid. Do middle or even upper middle class families that attend these schools just take out a ton of student loans??

    Your premise isn't correct. The poor can attend these expensive colleges only if they are among the relatively small number of colleges that meet full "need". These same colleges would meet the "needs" of the middle class and upper middle class families too. There is no discrimination on the basis of financial aid against the middle or upper middle class. When the college-defined "need' is less than a family's true need (often the case except for a few super generous colleges), a poor family is less able to make up for that deficiency. They don't have 529s or other savings (and they can't even borrow in most cases beyond the federal limits).
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  • Bill MarshBill Marsh 503 replies5 threads Member
    How can anyone afford anything?

    Some people live in expensive homes while others live in moderately priced homes.

    All over the highways, I see people driving expensive, gas guzzling SUVs. I drive a Smart car ($12K) a and a plug in Prius ($19K after rebates).

    All over the country there are families of moderate means send their kids to parochial and similar private schools some cost more and others less, but at $20K per year, that’s $240K per child after 12 years. That goes a long way toward the college fund for a family who. sends their kids to public schools.

    There’s no doubt that college tuition has been rising way faster than tuition, so. I agree that colleges are going to have to reassess. Ewhile we’re waiting for that, families have to set priorities.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 4966 replies86 threads Senior Member
    edited May 19
    cshell2 wrote: »
    If your family can afford 30K/year (per your other thread), you have a lot of options. Way more than most people.

    This is exactly right....many students can not pay anything close to $30K and live at home while going to a community college and/or local 4 year college. Here is some information: https://www.salliemae.com/about/leading-research/how-america-pays-for-college/

    ASU Barrett is a great option for you. Certainly expand your list to try and find some more affordable schools, but Elon, Denver, USD don't look affordable based on their NPCs, correct?
    edited May 19
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  • cshell2cshell2 1063 replies11 threads Senior Member
    What is your home state? Are there any good choices there? That would more than likely be your least expensive option.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30280 replies59 threads Senior Member
    There is a direct issue that is very unfair to young people applying to college. At 18, they are adults for many things, certainly at age 21. And yet financial aid is still tied to their parents. If you are unlucky enough to have parents who are deemed by FAFSA and /or PROFILE as able to pay, and parents refuse, or even refuse to fill out the forms, these young adults cannot get financial aid. NY state money and other situations can up that age from current 24 way up into the 30s. I think this is absurd
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30280 replies59 threads Senior Member
    That “child” is no longer a child but an adult for most if not all legal purposes other than college financial aid at age 18, 21, certainly before age 24 and later. We are stuck with our parents while still minors. To be stuck them regarding college financial aid into adulthood makes little sense to me.
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  • EconPopEconPop 592 replies10 threads Member
    edited May 19
    @cptofthehouse , the loan dollar limit for students is there, IMO, to help students, not unwillingly tie them to their parents.

    That the government guarantees $5500 loans to 17-18 year olds is a good thing. Most unemployed kids in that age group cannot get a credit card with a $5000 limit, much less $22,000 over 4 years. The government is helping them qualify for the student loan. However, no one wants to enable teenagers to make the final decision to take out a $250K loan to attend their "dream" school. Either the student will be overburdened with debt for half their adult life, or they will default on the loans and ruin their credit rating. Neither is a good result.

    Thus, limiting the student's debt while allowing (some, not all) parents to pursue a Plus Loan is a fair option if that's what the student AND parents agree upon.

    EDIT: But I agree that when parents are unwilling to even fill out FAFSA, that becomes a big problem.
    edited May 19
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  • CaMom13CaMom13 2368 replies15 threads Senior Member
    I think @cptofthehouse covered it nicely. Your parents' income matters but how (and whether) your parents saved for college and/or are willing to sacrifice in the present and the future also matters. The fact that many colleges and universities are mind-bogglingly expensive isn't "news". I've been a parent for 25 years and we knew that college expense would be a burden before we had our first kid. Happily, there are also more affordable options than OOS schools and private universities. If your family has a budget, you need to apply to schools that will fit that budget. I can see that would be frustrating if you've never been told that this is the reality for college applicants but affordability is a primary criteria for a school being a "good fit". The students whose parents saved heavily for college from very early on have an built-in advantage over students from the same socioeconomic background whose families did not: they can choose from a wider field of schools. If your family can afford 30K a year for college but doesn't qualify for FA you should be able to find some great fit schools but you won't be able to go to many OOS or private schools that would admit you.
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  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint 4926 replies19 threads Senior Member
    That “child” is no longer a child but an adult for most if not all legal purposes other than college financial aid at age 18, 21, certainly before age 24 and later. We are stuck with our parents while still minors. To be stuck them regarding college financial aid into adulthood makes little sense to me.

    I am using the word "child" meaning offspring; not in the context of a legal minor. But I'm sure you knew that. Don't miss what TigerInWinter has to say in post #16.
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  • aunt beaaunt bea 10280 replies70 threads Senior Member
    I always wanted to go out of state for college, but this does not seem like a viable option anymore.
    This is your issue. The schools in other states will cost more money. Going to an OOS university means that you are willing to pay extra for airfare and travel to go to those colleges that may be funded by their states.

    If you are middle income, you have to rely on your family's college savings. You do what you can do and you as the student should have been working summers for your portion. @cptofthehouse is spot on:
    College can be funded with past, current and future earning. Parents are the ones who usually pay for their kids’ colleges when financial aid and scholarships are not in the picture, for kids going to sleep away schools, private schools. Sometimes grandparents and other family members pay. But usually it falls upon the parents.

    One tightens the belt, adjusts the budget when kids go to colleges. Our vacations became visits to the college kid, we didn’t eat out, we really felt the squeeze of college payments for many years. We just didn’t spend money in other ways while our kids were in college. That was a major expense for us. Parents also may take a second job, a non working parent might find work. College kids might take on a part time job and summer work. All of my kids earned quite a bit of money over the summer and they paid for their own discretionary spending those years These are PRESENT ways of funding college.
    This is, more or less, what we did as a middle income family.
    If you have 30K, you have options, they just may not be OOS.
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  • Bill MarshBill Marsh 503 replies5 threads Member
    That “child” is no longer a child but an adult for most if not all legal purposes other than college financial aid at age 18, 21, certainly before age 24 and later. We are stuck with our parents while still minors. To be stuck them regarding college financial aid into adulthood makes little sense to me.

    And yet young adults stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26. It’s complicated.

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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 43115 replies470 threads Senior Member
    The issue is that USD and UDenver both have few scholarships and a relatively low endowment per student
    You're lucky in a sense because the coronavirus had upended everything, including college admissions, and colleges that would never think of growing their accepted student list now do: if you want to go OOS, look at the Nacac list. Select colleges in areas you're interested in (west coast and Rockies, apparently) and systematically run the NPC on them. Add a few from the Midwest to increase your odds.
    Apply *immediately* to all colleges within budget.
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